Governor Whitmer: Detroit Smart Parking Lab Highlights Michigan’s Leadership in Transportation Solutions

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Announces collaboration with Ford, Bedrock and Bosch to test advanced technologies in parking, logistics and EV charging

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivered the keynote address at the Management Briefing Seminars hosted by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR MBS) being held today in Traverse City, reaffirming Michigan’s continued focus on building a stronger state economy through safer, more equitable and environmentally conscious transportation for all Michigan residents.

During her keynote, Governor Whitmer was joined by representatives from Ford Motor Company, Bedrock and Bosch as well as Trevor Pawl, Chief Mobility Officer with the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification to announce a new public/private sector collaboration to launch the nation’s first-of-its-kind, real-world test site for parking solutions – the Detroit Smart Parking Lab hosted at Bedrock’s Assembly Garage in Detroit.

“Michigan continues to lead the way in developing, testing and deploying the solutions that will drive the future of transportation, including mobility-related parking solutions,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Innovative collaborations like the Detroit Smart Parking Lab are solving issues that will make transportation more accessible and affordable while creating an environment for technology and mobility-related companies to thrive and grow in Michigan.”


The lab opens in September, allowing mobility and smart infrastructure pioneers and real-estate innovators and startups to test parking-related mobility, logistics and electric vehicle charging technologies. The Detroit Smart Parking Lab will also expand parking scenarios beyond parking structures and is strategically located in historic Corktown neighborhood where Ford is developing a mobility innovation district anchored by Michigan Central Station.

“Parallel parking or finding spots in busy, tight structures are some of the most stressful driving situations, which is why Ford invested heavily in innovations such as our parallel parking assistance technology,” said Craig Stephens, director, Controls & Automated Systems, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “The Detroit Smart Parking Lab will help us collaborate with other innovators on even better solutions to make parking easier, so it doesn’t spoil an evening out.”

Today’s announcement builds on last week’s announcement of Michigan Strategic Fund support for Ford’s new global battery center of excellence, securing its location in Romulus and helping to drive momentum as the state continues to emerge as an electric vehicle R&D and manufacturing leader.

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“Collaboration is essential for the future of mobility,” said Paul Thomas, executive vice president of Mobility Solutions, Americas for Bosch. “With the Detroit Smart Parking Lab, we have a cross section of collaborators – from government leaders to mobility and tech companies – that that will empower us to bring innovation to market through collaboration.”

“Real estate, auto and government working hand-in-hand allows us to not only maintain Detroit’s position as the Motor City but showcase the city as the evolving tech hub of the Midwest,” said Heather Wilberger, chief information officer at Bedrock. “Finding parking in urban environments can account for as much as 30 percent of vehicle traffic and emissions. As the city’s largest real estate developer, these collaborations and programs allow us to develop, test and implement advanced parking technologies to reduce parking time and cut emissions, helping to drive sustainability benefits throughout our portfolio.”

Day-to-day operations of the Detroit Smart Parking Lab will be managed by the American Center for Mobility (ACM), a not-for-profit collaborative effort comprised of government, industry and academic organizations focused on accelerating the mobility industry supporting advanced and scientific research, testing, standards and educational programs. And Enterprise Holdings has announced it will utilize Detroit Smart Parking Lab to test automated valet parking from Bosch and electric vehicle charging technology that will mean more seamless and efficient rental car returns nationwide.

“Michigan’s already well underway building the future of roads in the state, and with Detroit Smart Parking Lab we are now taking the lead on creating the future of parking,” said Trevor Pawl, Chief Mobility Officer for the state of Michigan. “Working together with partners like Bosch, Bedrock, Ford and the American Center for Mobility we can build a stronger state economy through safer, more equitable and environmentally conscious transportation for all Michigan residents.”

To learn more about the Detroit Smart Parking Lab, and how to get involved, visit Information on innovation grants available to support projects utilizing the lab can be found by visiting the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform at

Following the Detroit Smart Parking Lab announcement, Governor Whitmer joined Carla Bailo, President and CEO of CAR for a fireside chat. The conversation highlighted the importance of ensuring Michigan’s workforce is prepared for the talent needs directly related to the continued growth of EV vehicle production and adoption.

To keep this workforce pipeline strong, Governor Whitmer has set a goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree to 60% by 2030 through programs like Jobs Ready Michigan and MI Reconnect – a program that has already put more than 70,000 Michiganders on a tuition-free path to an associate degree or a skills certificate to fill the state's most in-demand, high-wage careers.

Learn more about the state’s efforts in mobility and electrification at

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